Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews at 2KHz at Church Studios, Crouch End, London
Some days you're just reading right along, encountering words and phrases and sentences that all move in very predictable patterns. You're reading about lives that you can follow, sensing the developments a few beats before they happen and you find that everything is paced well enough that you don't have to re-read much. You can just sit there, in your underwear or what have you and get everything inputted and digested as well as you ever would or could, in one very chewable instance. There's just nothing all that difficult or special about the language. The people being described are familiar and the trees, or the glass - those are the same trees you have pulling toward the sky in your backyard, the same glass that you have keeping the bugs and birds out of your living room. And that's when you come across a paragraph that takes you for a loop. You read it once and then you go immediately back and run through it again. You want to take it in, like a draw from a cigar - letting it fill you, making sure that it doesn't escape.
Near the tail-end of a New York Times review of Buzz Bissinger's - the guy who wrote "Friday Night Lights" - new book, a memoir about his family and specifically a road trip that he took with 20-something, mentally handicapped son, there was an excerpt from the book that hit me as pertinent, while listening to the music of London band, Bastille. Bissinger wrote in his book, "Father's Day," "If you deliberately look for surprises and significance in life, all you find is an old box of cassettes by America and heart and Peter Frampton you bought when you were alone and very drunk, and nobody else was watching." It could be sloughed off and seen as a failing attempt to connect a concept and a band that makes delightfully engaging ballads the likes of "Yellow" and "Wonderwall," moving songs that pin us to our failings and our most skin and bones characteristics.
The band, fronted by Dan Smith, concerns itself with our fears and problems and seems to come out somewhere around the thought that we can't do much about most anything and we should just pay closest attention to making sure than the thumpings keep coming in our chests - that we just keep pursuing happiness, whether or not that means we're prevailing, because no one can really tell if they're ever going to get out of any of this in good shape or not. There's always such a long way to go. It could be absolutely okay to be left only with those Heart and America cassettes, after a good long grudge match.